Anyone who has attended one of his concerts, and has had plenty of opportunities to do so in his long career, will have often noticed.

Heinz Sauer did not play.

At least not at first.

He waited.

Listened to himself.

Listened to the actions of his teammates.

Hesitant to let a note escape from his saxophone just like that.

And always seemed to refuse the sounds, the obvious ones in any case.

Then he stood in his full size on the stage.

The instrument around his neck like a millstone.

And a hand on your chin.

Like Rodin's thinker.

But when he then started to play, it was immediately clear: These tones must have wandered through distant convolutions of the brain, rolled back and forth three times in the mouth and released into the sounding freedom via heart and lungs, tongue and lips.

The search for the right notes may have only lasted a few seconds.

That was always enough to give them a trustworthy format.

What you then heard in all the variety of styles and improvisational gestures were essential jazz sounds.

And they have remained so to this day: Heinz Sauer's Voices.

his voices.

His jazz.

True jazz had long since arrived

Everyone felt that, not just the grandmasters from the Frankfurt School of Jazz, who, with Heinz Sauer and Albert Mangelsdorff at the helm of the Frankfurt School, defiantly defied critical theory in a virtual long-distance duel: Peter Trunk, Hartwig Bartz, Peter Baumeister, Günter Lenz , Ralf Hübner and the entire illustrious society of jazz in the region.

Even the teachers from America, who in the 1950s and early 1960s, after their official gigs in the Congress Hall, descended the nineteen steps to the Frankfurt Jazzkeller at Kleine Bockenheimer Strasse 18a for after-hours sessions to generously teach the students from Europe the true jazz -sounds, had to realize that they had long since arrived there for some.

That legendary jam session, in which Gerry Mulligan, the big star on the baritone saxophone, applauded the expressive solo of the tenor saxophonist Heinz Sauer on the open stage, has registered with everyone who was lucky enough to have been there at this great moment in the jazz cellar.

Albert Mangelsdorff was able to rely on Heinz Sauer as a congenial partner at his side for a long time.

The most important jazz formation in Germany in the cultural development years after the war bore the signature of these two giants, who were not to be used for musical chat tones.

Even if the acoustic Morse code of the trombonist Mangelsdorff was rather cool, but the squeezed out scraps of melody of the tenor and soprano saxophonist Sauer came red hot, in one respect they were equal temperaments: no note too much, no chatter, no compromise.

It was just as Karl Kraus once described the soul mates of two other artists with a bizarre image: Like manic moles, Albert Mangelsdorff and Heinz Sauer drove their underground passages in the same aesthetic direction.

Whoever wanted to hear them had no choice.

He had to dig deep himself.

Grandiose jazz from the musical late bloomer

Actually, for the musical late bloomer Heinz Sauer, who first studied physics, there was no life before the great Albert Mangelsdorff, but a very vital and definitely more self-determined life alongside and after him.

His group Voices was basically the band of Mangelsdorff without Mangelsdorff, but with piano, at which Bob Degen, the sensitively reserved American, sat in Frankfurt.

The few recordings made by this band in their changing formations and all of Sauer's other recordings from the 1980s and 1990s would be worth any reissue - including the duo record "Ellingtonia Revisited" with Degen: grandiosely variable jazz of the time without ideological overload.

And then came Michael Wollny.

Heinz Sauer always had a lot of love for the wild youngsters of jazz.

Since the turn of the millennium, however, playing with the pianist Wollny, whom he met in the jazz ensemble of the Hessischer Rundfunk, has been meeting two colossuses beyond all age questions, in whose playing the past and present of jazz, its unpredictable beauty and its constructive energy come together as if by magic.

Their 2012 live version of Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain" is a once-in-a-century recording from the Stadtkirche Darmstadt, a prank by two geniuses, one of whom will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Christmas Day - congratulations, Heinz Sauer.

Michael Wollny has to wait another 46 years for that.